House & Home Real Estate

What the past year has taught us about our homes ~ an essay

At Border City Living we tend to do a lot of reflecting on the fundamental purposes of a home. There’s the obvious; shelter, a place to keep your things, and for many of us, our financial security blanket.

It’s that last part that we, as a society, tend to get swept away with; this notion of your home as purely an investment (which began with the baby boomer generation). As our market goes up and hectic buying and selling become a normalized part of the real estate landscape in Windsor-Essex, it’s almost as though many of our homes have lost their soul in the shuffle — we’re not truly living in them the way we want to. We’re obsessed with the bottom line and we’re becoming grey-washed.

If we have a collective goal for 2021, it’s to bring this more ‘soulful’ way of life back to the forefront of our homes, especially now that most of our time is spent in them. It’s our belief that your space should inspire you, energize you and be a reflection of who you are, even if it’s not somewhere you intend to stay forever. This is often why some of our favourites are quaint apartments with souvenirs from past travels and work-in-progress paintings. Yes, we may ask you to take down some personal photos before selling, so the next owner can envision themselves there, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave your imprint… because perfection can so often be sterile.

It’s not news that more people are opting to flee the bustle, long commutes and higher expenses of our major cities for cities like ours. But instead of fearing change, we see this as an exciting opportunity to reframe our thinking, to show newcomers what kind of life is possible here. We have extra space compared to more populated areas, so why can’t an otherwise under-utilized side yard become a vegetable garden? A detached garage can become a nanny suite for ageing parents or a retrofitted home office for a startup. If our pace is slower, we can spend a year restoring plaster walls instead of bulldozing our way through heritage homes without careful consideration of who built them and how they were used in the past.

This year, we implore you to hang the art you’ve been meaning to even if it will leave holes in the walls. Build a sauna even if they’re uncommon. Revert your fireplace back to wood-burning if you want to, even if it’s ‘messy’. Let your surfaces patina. Our homes and our neighbourhoods deserve our care and patience because, if we do this right, there’s hope for them to outlive us.

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